- Does your child go through intense mood changes?
- What is bipolar disorder?
- Who develops bipolar disorder?
- How is bipolar disorder different in children and teens than it is in adults?
- What causes bipolar disorder?
- What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
- Do children and teens with bipolar disorder have other problems?
- How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?
- How is bipolar disorder treated?
- What can children and teens expect from treatment?
- How can I help my child or teen?
- How does bipolar disorder affect parents and family?
- Where do I go for help?
- I know a child or teen who is in crisis. What do I do?
- Contact us to find out more about bipolar disorder.
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
Bipolar mood changes are called "mood episodes." Your child may have manic episodes, depressive episodes, or "mixed" episodes. A mixed episode has both manic and depressive symptoms. Children and teens with bipolar disorder may have more mixed episodes than adults with the illness.
Mood episodes last a week or two—sometimes longer. During an episode, the symptoms last every day for most of the day.
Mood episodes are intense. The feelings are strong and happen along with extreme changes in behavior and energy levels.
Children and teens having a manic episode may:
- Feel very happy or act silly in a way that's unusual
- Have a very short temper
- Talk really fast about a lot of different things
- Have trouble sleeping but not feel tired
- Have trouble staying focused
- Talk and think about sex more often
- Do risky things.
Children and teens having a depressive episode may:
- Feel very sad
- Complain about pain a lot, like stomachaches and headaches
- Sleep too little or too much
- Feel guilty and worthless
- Eat too little or too much
- Have little energy and no interest in fun activities
- Think about death or suicide.